Long before the results of eminent domain are seen on the ground in the form of new roads, schools, pipelines or power lines, the process has been unfolding behind the scenes. The eminent domain process begins when a government entity recognizes a public need for a project. After some degree of planning, engineering and studying of the project, the government entity usually passes a “resolution” to condemn property. This “resolution” is an official document that states the public purpose for the use of eminent domain and may be passed many years in advance of any actual taking of property.
After passing a resolution, the government hires surveyors to determine the precise properties that the project requires. Next, real estate appraisers try to determine how much the properties are worth and provide written appraisals stating their opinions as to compensation. The government uses these appraisals in an attempt to negotiate a purchase price.
“Does government’s appraisal reflect full compensation?”
The short answer is…it depends. The appraisals only reflect one persons opinion of how much the property owner should receive. In eminent domain, full compensation is a function of what is legally issues and appraisal methodology. Because of this, equally qualified appraisers can differ in their estimate of full compensation. This is why one should have an eminent domain attorney review the appraisal and offer from the condemning authority.
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